Backyard Grilling Tips
Backyard Grilling Tips
Designed by Arleen M. Kaptur
All Rights Reserved
Make sure that your grill is on a flat surface away from shrubs, grass, or any flammable material. Check the vents to make sure that ashes are not clogging them from any previous meal preparations. Use lighter fluid starter but never gasoline or kerosene. Never wear clothing with sleeves that might catch on fire. Short sleeves are the best.
How much charcoal to use - this depends on how big your grill is, what kind of food you are preparing, and weather conditions. If there are strong winds, cold temperatures, or if it is very humid out, you will need more charcoal to get a good fire going. A rule of thumb - it takes about 45 briquets to grill 6-8 burgers.
If you don't have a grill thermometer, you might try this: Do not let a child do this and be very careful as you would not want to get burned. Hold your hand, palm-side-down, just above the grill. Count "one thousand one, one thousand two, and so on". If you keep your hand in place without pulling it away for 2 seconds, it is a very hot fire (375), 4 seconds it's a medium fire (300-350), and 5 seconds or more, it is a low fire (200-300). Once again, use reasonable caution when testing the heat.
If you would like to try some of the flavored hard- woods, a general rule is that a little goes a long way. They should complement and not overpower. Always, soak your hardwoods in water 30 mins. before using. When placed in your grill, they should smolder and smoke, but not burn. Grapevine cuttings give great flavor as do shells from nuts, such as almonds, and pecans. Small bunches of dried fruit soaked in water will add fragrance as well as flavor - rosemary, bay leaves, and oregano are great on a grill.
To "line" your food with those great "marks" just like you see in magazines, allow the grid to heat thoroughly before adding the food.
Some food safety tips: Always serve cooked foods from a grill on a clean plate - never the one that held the raw food. In hot weather never leave food out longer than 1 hr. and the old adage keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold applies whenver you cook outdoors.
One last hint - the secret to evenly cooked vegetables on a kabob is to parboil starchy vegetables before they are threaded on a skewer. Sauces: steaks and chops: baste with sauce after you have flipped the meat for the last time, about the last 3 mins. of grilling; chicken - baste the last 10 mins.; hot dogs/sausages - baste the last 4-5 mins. However seasoned oils may be brushed during the entire time the entree is grilling.
With just a few of these hints, you are on your way to a summertime of great outdoor eating and your grilled food will make you proud. ENJOY!